In most businesses, creativity is a highly valued skill because it enables you to solve problems, create new products, better market your products, etc. Creativity is not a unique gift that only a select few people have. Everyone can be creative if you know how creativity works and which role you could play.
Creativity doesn’t start with having a lot of good ideas or creating something beautiful. Creativity is a whole process. Being able to generate ideas or create something are just parts of that entire process. In fact, ideas aren’t even the start of a creative process. If you were to visualize the process of creativity, you’d see that creativity is a loop.
Creativity consists of four parts, each which serves as an input to the next stage. The ‘final’ step then provides feedback for the first part, and the loop starts over again resulting in unlimited creativity. The creativity loop consists of four parts, namely:
Every person can play a role in each of the parts. Therefore every person has the potential to be creative.
Inspiration as the basis of creativity
Good ideas often don’t appear out of thin air. Usually, inspiration is needed first. A lack of inspiration leads to little or no ideas. It explains why great artists have a muse. Inspiration is indispensable to start brainstorming for ideas.
Something beautiful like a painting, an insightful article, a presentation, a conversation with someone, a good book, etc. can lead to inspiration.
You may find something so beautiful that it inspires you to create something beautiful as well. But something ugly or something that does not work can be encouraging too. For example, a piece of software that doesn’t work the way you want it to leads to the idea of making an application that does work. Or you are facing a problem at work, but have limited time or resources. These are situations where you need to come up with a creative solution.
Inspiration is a necessary ingredient for idea generation. Get inspired if you want to come up with great ideas. If you want to be more creative, get some inspiration.
Find whatever inspires you and make sure those sources of inspiration continuously surround you. Create an inspiring environment if you want to increase the creativity of a team. Be a source of inspiration for others.
Ideas: Start brainstorming
Contrary to what people may think, almost no idea is new. An idea is nothing more than making connections between existing things that were previously not (clearly) visible. Inspiration is similar to lighting, which makes you see these links. That’s why inspiration is such an essential ingredient to come up with ideas.
When it comes to generating ideas, focus on quantity first and later on quality. The more ideas you have, the more likely there’ll be a good one amongst it. Everybody can think of something and generate ideas.
Generating ideas is just like working out and flexing your muscles. The more often you do it, the more flexible it becomes. Therefore, try to produce as many ideas as possible – on a frequent basis. The more, the better. The more you actively try to brainstorm, the better you’ll become at generating ideas. Not every thought has to be good. You can always make a selection afterward.
Another skill related to generating ideas is to recognize the good ones from the bad ones and select those ideas that are promising. Choosing great ideas is another particular skill.
Being able to translate an idea into something tangible, or being able to instruct others to do so, is the next step in the creation process.
Creation: The manifestation of creativity
An idea not executed is just an idea in someone’s head, that has no real value until it’s made tangible. The act of turning an idea into something concrete is the most visible part of creativity. Turning ideas into something tangible is about execution.
The making process, i.e., converting an idea into something tangible, is another field of expertise.
For example, the great Walt Disney had plenty of ideas but was a mediocre illustrator at best. His employees made all the drawings. The ideas came from Disney, but illustrators, technicians, and animators made his ideas come to life.
Find someone to turn your into ideas into something tangible. Or keep practicing to do it yourself. Creating a product or service is the expertise of artists and business professionals. Without these people, nothing get’s done or delivered.
Share your ideas to inspire others
The final step in the whole creative process is to share the creation or idea with the world. The purpose is to share the original concept with the world through your creation. Hopefully, your creativity inspires others to create something beautiful of their own as well. And thus, a new creation process starts.
A self-reinforcing process
Your creation will hopefully lead to inspiration, which leads to ideas, which leads to another creation, which can eventually be shared and lead to more inspiration. Once started, the circle continues to repeat and multiply.
The beauty of the creation circle is that you do not have to wait until the final phase, i.e., the stage where the creation is ready to be shared and inspire. An idea in itself can be inspiring enough to lead to new ideas. The creation process itself can lead to inspiration for others. Seeing a painter paint can already be inspiring to pick up a brush too. Thus, every part of the creation circle can lead to the inspiration that allows people to do what they are naturally good at, namely creating.
Get started to be creative
There’s no such thing as ‘creative people’ and ‘non-creative’ people. Everyone can play a role when it comes to creativity. Creativity is a whole process. Creativity goes from inspiration to generating ideas, turning those ideas into actual creations and finally sharing those creations with the world. Everyone can play a role in this process, though it may be different roles for different people. The question isn’t whether or not someone is creative. The real question is what role you will play in the whole creative process.